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That’s Not Fair!
One way to know if you’ve really understood a parable of Jesus is to check your reaction. Here are some reactions that demonstrate you probably did NOT get his point:
- You think to yourself, “this really applies well for (name of someone besides yourself)“
- You think the point is being able to explain the meaning and U.S. currency equivalents for denarii, talents and minas.
- You allegorize the details so that every character, event, animal, and object has a direct parallel.
One way to know that you have indeed gotten the point is to proclaim, “God have mercy on me a sinner.” Jesus’ parables have a way to pointing out our flaws in such a subtle way that his point may not hit you right away. Sometimes the parable has to roll around inside your head for awhile and then, when you least expect it, it hits you right between the eyes.
The parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16) is like that. I can relate to the men who worked 12 hours and were upset that those who barely broke a sweat got paid that same wage. Surely this would have potential to be a class action lawsuit. When I think of my own hard work in the kingdom of God, do the years and years of effort, study, sacrifice, and self-denial not pay off in some BIG way? After years of resisting temptation and willingly suffering abuse and ridicule for my faith, do I now have to share my crown of glory with a sexual pervert and mass murderer who comes to Christ in the 11th hour?
God hears my pitiful cry of “That’s not fair!” and responds, “What are you upset about? I want to give grace to everyone who turns to me, even those who come at the last minute. Don’t I have a right to do what I want with my grace? Or are you envious, because I am so generous?” Ouch, right between the eyes. “God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
(If you want to read about Jeffrey Dahmer’s conversion to Christ read Dark Journey Deep Grace. To read my review check our Amazon and search the reviews.)